REVIEW: Alpha Flight: True North #1

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Alpha Flight: True North #1 / Writers: Jim Zub, Jed MacKay, & Ed Brisson / Artists: Max Dunbar, Djibril Morissette-Phan, & Scott Hepburn / Colorists: Jim Charalampidis & Ian Herring / Letters: Ed Brisson / Publisher: Marvel Comics / Publish Dates: September 4, 2019

Alpha Flight Cover

Alpha Flight Stories

Three stories combine to make up this issue of Alpha Flight: True North #1. The first story “Mired in the past” focuses on Talisman, a channel for mystic forces, and Snowbird, the daughter of a goddess and a shapeshifter. The two women are in the arctic circle looking for the source of dark magical energy. The second story, “Monsters” focuses on Puck and the sins of his past. The third story “Illegal guardians”visits Alpha Flights past leader Vindicator in a moment of attack within her home. Her estranged husband, Guardian, comes to the rescue or so it seems. 

Mired in the Past

Jim Zub’s “Mired in the past” is action and exposition. You get to know two of Alpha Flight’s heroines and their bravery, while also getting a more personal look at Snowbird’s past. The amount of exposition instead of exchanges did become old, which is unfortunate in such a short story. It is also not clear why this entity turned evil to begin with. 

Alpha Flight Panel

Max Dunbar’s art in these pages is alluring. His introduction of the two powerful women holds their power and beauty, but does not objectify them. Dunbar’s evil creatures are truly frightening and this is confirmed by the fear drawn on Talisman’s face. The artist truly knows how to get his point across and evoke emotion. Jim Charalampidis’ colors shift from realistic, to dark evil, to the white lights of the beyond. This tactic leads the reader through the story and shows them how to feel along the way.

Monsters

Jed MacKay’s story “Monsters” starts showing four member of the Alpha Flight team on the beach. He then follows Puck, referred by his last name Judd, as he goes through a catharsis. In his past he was not the hero we know today and he wants to come clean to Marrina. The depth created by MacKay is one that Alpha Flight or Puck fans will enjoy. Who knew he liked Shakespeare? The story may not have much action, but it does have a lot of heart.

Djibril Morissette-Phan’s art in this section serves the story while keeping some of Pucks lightheartedness present. There is nothing like being buried up to the neck at the beach while you pour your heart out. The few panels of the tentacle adorned monster were creative and well formed in it’s terror. Colorist Ian Herring adds another layer to the story by differentiating the flashbacks in sepia like tones, while also coloring the beach to signify the passing of time resulting in a beautiful sunset. 

Alpha Flight Panel 2

Illegal Guardians

Ed Brisson’s last story “Illegal Guardians” finds Vindicator on her couch reading to her daughter when she is suddenly attacked. As the past leader of Alpha Flight, she has a plan to keep her daughter safe and kick some butt. Since she has been on the run, the aid of her estranged husband Guardian comes as a surprise. Brisson then lays out a complexity of emotions in the character. He shows us her guilt, her intensity, and her want to give her daughter a healthy home. Her complexity is only matched by the clear inner turmoil Mac seems to be feeling in the last two pages. Readers will feel for both characters and want to know where this story will lead.

Scott Hepburn’s art showcases the disruption of superhero life on their regular life.He also shows the power between these two heroes, whether it’s fighting together or having a frank discussion. As with the first story Jim Charalampidis’ colors take the reader on a journey through situations. Particularly appealing was both heroes bright lit powers against the darkness of the fight surrounding them. Almost as if he were trying to say these two together were the light to beat the darkness surrounding them. 

Alpha Flight minus Sasquatch

Overall, this book was a great way to get to know some of the Alpha Flight members. As a fan, many will wonder why Sasquatch is missing, but will be satisfied with seeing Puck and original team members. I think the ordering of the book was successful, but did lack some cohesion. That being said, I feel the artists made up for any disjointedness in stories. Ultimately, I’m glad Alpha Flight is back from space and being featured once again in their own story. I hope we can see more of them in the future.

Verdict: 4 out of 5

Danielle is a lover of all things comics, superheros, fantasy, and supernatural. She is a Doctorate of Education student, while working full time event planning for a University. When not working or comic reading, she can be found snuggling her dog, Sir Dublin Von Fuzzypants or her husband Dave.

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Fal-in-OR

As a long time Alpha Flight fan, I enjoyed the book. Puck’s story was my favorite. My least favorite was ‘Illegal Guardians’ because the writer seems to want to shoe horn Mac into the evil Reed Richards mold.